Bromelain is a mixture of enzymes found naturally in the juice and stems of pineapples. A proteolytic enzyme, bromelain helps with the digestion of protein, and therefore can be used as a digestive aid with protein rich meals. Some bromelain can be absorbed into the blood stream intact, so it has effects outside the digestive tract; these are called systemic effects.
One primary effect is its ability to support a healthy response to inflammation. When used as a digestive aid, bromelain is usually taken with meals. When used for other systemic-type conditions, taking bromelain between meals on an empty stomach is best.